:: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 ::

Edinburgh Evening News - Politics - Just seconds away from surprises

Hopefully.

I won't be posting for a couple of days as Scotland goes to the polls. But I'll be back with all the goss.

If you live in Scotland, make sure you vote.

If you want to make a difference, if you want to stop the slide to privatisation and a neo-liberal economy, if you were against the war, if you want to see an egalitarian and progressive Scotland then VOTE SSP.

If you're not sure, then give us a chance by giving us your second (peach coloured) regional list vote.

Another Scotland is possible.


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:: Monday, April 28, 2003 ::

timesnewroman

Check out this new Scottish blog, which was kind enough to link to me. Also did a partial redesign on the blog to make it less graphics heavy.


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Then What?

Poster

New Labour designed these posters as a scare campaign against the SNP. It has backfired somewhat as they lend themselves to alteration so well. Every one in Edinburgh seems to have been "customised".


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:: Friday, April 25, 2003 ::

It's Hammer Time

As with all blogs, we get a fair bit of traffic from people looking for stuff that just isn't here, they type something into Google and end up here.
So salty seadog DAVE.TCI.NAVY.MIL from the USS Freddy Mercury, deserves an apology, unfortunately we do not sell "cruise missile t-shirts".


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:: Thursday, April 24, 2003 ::

Murder King

Murder King

Burger King gets a makeover in Barcelona. Pictures courtesy of Gerry McG.

Leftist Celebrity Stars in their Eyes


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:: Wednesday, April 23, 2003 ::

Remember the Plot to Discredit Arthur Scargill

"During the 1984-5 miners' strike, MI5 was involved in a covert plot to discredit NUM president Arthur Scargill. Scargill first became a target for the security services after he masterminded the closure of the Saltley coke depot through mass picketing, during the 1972 miners strike. He was one of the most prominent symbols of militant class trade unionism in the country and was a feared and hated target of the right.

At the start of the 1984-85 strike, Margaret Thatcher personally authorised MI5 to set up a "Get Scargill" operation, aimed at destroying the NUM leader "politically and personally". The phone tapping operation against the NUM during the strike was the most ambitious ever mounted by MI5. With the help of GCHQ, the NUM headquarters in Sheffield and the offices and homes of branch officials were bugged. Transcripts from these taps were sent to the National Reporting Centre at New Scotland Yard, which was responsible for deploying police officers in the coalfields, and to MI5's F2 Branch. MI5 sent intelligence reports to the Civil Contingencies Unit in the Cabinet Office."


I have my differences with George Galloway. But those who have seen the recent stories in the Daily Telegraph should remember some amazingly similar allegations that were directed against Arthur Scargill - and guess what? They were the product of plots involving the security services. We now know that these shadowy state groups were involved in having civilians assassinated in Northern Ireland - a stitch up like this would be child's play.


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The Early Days of a Better Nation

"My name is Ken MacLeod, I'm a science fiction writer, and I live near the Road Bridge over the Firth of Forth (near Edinburgh, Scotland.)

I've written seven full-length SF novels - the four Fall Revolution books and the three in Engines of Light - and I'm now working on a standalone space opera provisionally titled Newton's Wake."


Cool. Another lefty blogger in the Lothians. That makes 3 in the Lothians and err 3 in Scotland. Check out famed sci-fi writer Ken MacLeod's blog for the latest on space and revolution. Hey Ken, give us a link!


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:: Tuesday, April 22, 2003 ::

Forbes.com: Crash and Opportunity

"What about all those antiwar protests? They sure get a lot of television play. On Mar. 29 I saw the biggest anti-American protest since San Francisco, in Edinburgh, Scotland--but it was all students and old 1960s socialists, openly organized by the Scottish Socialist Party. The Scots, for all that they are part of the British Isles, have less hostility to Americans than to the English. The two Uniteds are united. The unwilling are losing badly. The unwilling are unable. Disabled."

A weird comment from this bourgeois business magazine in an article reporting how pro-war nations are doing better in the capitalist markets. You mean the war wasn't about freedom and WMD's? It was about market share and boosting the petro-dollar against the petro-euro? Shockaroonie!

I should like to point out to the author that the protests in Edinburgh were not anti-American, I have spoken to dozens of anti-war USAnians in the capital over the last few months. Anti-war does not mean anti-American.


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Election 2003 - Scottish Socialist Party - Scottish Socialist Party website

A good review from the Scotsman last week for my work on the SSP website.

"At last! A nice clean site without Flash graphics, garish colour schemes, mad navigation and messages from our glorious leader and the like.

The SSP website is a nice, proletarian place, where content seems to matter more than style. OK, the content is similar to other parties' sites, with 'news' being nothing of the sort, (parties really need to find another word for this), but the site is light on graphics and concentrates on getting the message across.

The main page contains an inspiring picture of Tommy Sheridan with megaphone in hand, but, thankfully, that's where the personality politics seem to end - something which other parties might learn from.

After that, the election stands prominent, with links to the manifesto in html and pdf, candidates and - a rarity - acknowledgement that there are council elections as well. The comes Stop the War!, of course, and 'news'

Navigation is where you'd expect to find it - down the left - grouped under headings such as The SSP, Campaigns, 2003 Elections, SSP groups and Resources. It wobbles a bit when you roll over some of the links, but nobody's perfect.

The SSP tells you what they stand for and provides links to the local party websites - a motley collection of really badly designed geocities sites and other free-hosting 'solutions'. It's all rather endearing. There must be some socialist web designers out there somewhere, surely?

There is also merchandise, but the SSP have yet to embrace e-commerce. A failing - nobody's going to buy much if they have to send off a cheque. Perhaps Visa merchant accounts are a bit on the capitalist side, but there are other solutions.

Campaigns include stop the war, the replacement for council tax, free school meals and the abolition of household water rates.

Election 2003 leads through to the manifesto and candidates - all you get, though, is selected pictures, no contact info, biographies, interests or the like.

SSP groups takes you to Scottish Socialist Youth - "Why should we get excited about work when what is on offer is so shite?" - yes, well, that applies to all of us, young fella - Socialist Women (not much) and the International Committee, which includes Solidarity Campaigns, including, at the top, Palestine, inevitably; Anti Capitalism; European Social Froum and European Anti-capitalist Left.

Resources includes links to like-minded organisations, election results, picture galleries and campaign posters to stick in your window.

As a website, no matter what you think of the politics, it works better than most. It's clean, simple and concentrates on policies. One of the best political party websites around."


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:: Thursday, April 17, 2003 ::

Belle and Sebastian live in Glasgow

Belle and Sebastian play SSP benefit gig

The band played an excellent low key benefit for the SSP at Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow, with 5 songs from their forthcoming album and covers of Johnny Cash, Pink Floyd and Love songs.


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:: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 ::

Edinburgh St.

This is a great photoblog, of Edinburgh street photos - people, graffiti, billboards, demos. I've taken a few similar pictures myself and even posted a few here, but these are MUCH better.


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:: Tuesday, April 15, 2003 ::

nu-produkt | Gulf War Infographic

pixeltastic graphic just in time for the "don't attack Syria" campaign.


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:: Monday, April 14, 2003 ::

People's Alliance Party Website

Yes, it's the old New Party of Britain, 'send in the army to run the NHS' nutters. They have been boosted by the recruitment of two ex-tory MSPs who were placed in unwinnable positions on the tory lists. The Scottish elections are their first outing. But, what's this? Their logo in Scotland is green, white and purple. But in the rest of the UK it is red, white and blue. Can it be that in Scotland they don't want to be associated with the kind of dubious patriotism that they are promoting elsewhere?


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Fame Academy Friends

The Edinburgh People's Festival photos of heart-throb David Sneddon by Gerry McGarvey and I are being recycled by this teenybopper site. Ah well, at least they give the Festival a link.


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BBC NEWS | In Depth | Photo Gallery | Political portraits by John Byrne

National Portrait Gallery

Portraits of Scottish political party leaders by artist and writer John Byrne of 'slab boys' and 'tutti frutti' fame at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.


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Second Vote at the Scottish Elections

This has been set up by the Greens to boost their 2nd vote in the Scottish Parliamentary elections. It explains the voting system (the Additional Member System), which means in most areas a vote for Labour or the SNP is a wasted vote.

In Lothians the 2nd vote should be very interesting. At the last election the Greens, lib-dems, SNP and tories all benefited, with the lib-dems calling a recount to try to push out the Greens.

This time the additional complications are the SSP who are polling strongly in Lothians and are definitely in the running for a list place. Also we have Margo McDonald (who I would hyperlink, but her website seems to be down with hideous Apache server errors), ex-SNP maverick running her own campaign on the list. Whether she just takes votes from the SNP or damages others is not too clear. My prediction is that she won't get in and that the SSP will gain a seat in Lothians, whilst the Greens will retain Robin Harper.

A vote for the SSP is of course, never a wasted vote. Second vote Red!


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:: Friday, April 11, 2003 ::

Upton's Universe

Cartoonist Colin Upton has been keeping a daily diary (yes Colin, that does make it a blog) in cartoon form of gulf war II. Good stuff check it out.


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:: Thursday, April 10, 2003 ::

MSPWatch

An online voting guide focusing on MPs and MSPs attitudes towards the war.


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The images they choose, and choose to ignore

And no doubt the vast majority of Iraqis are glad to be rid of Hussein, even if they remember that it was US support for Saddam Hussein throughout the 1980s that allowed his regime to consolidate power despite a disastrous invasion of Iran.
But that does not mean all Iraqis will be happy about the ongoing presence of US troops. Perhaps they are aware of how little the US government has cared about democracy or the welfare of Iraqis in the past.

Perhaps they watch Afghanistan and see how quickly US policymakers abandoned the commitment to "not walk away" from the suffering of the Afghan people.

Perhaps we should be cautious about what we infer from the pictures of celebration that we are seeing; joy over the removal of Hussein does not mean joy over an American occupation.
There is no simple way to get dramatic video of these complex political realities. But they remain realities, whether or not US viewers find a full discussion of them on television


Robert Jensen via the resurrected Al Jazeera website. Seems now that killing their journalists is preferable to killing their website.


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:: Wednesday, April 09, 2003 ::

Precision Advertising

ad

Blogger ads, seen on most blogs are targetted. The targetting seems to be more accurate than that of the US Air Force however. Imagine my surprise on seeing an ad for the fourth international journalInternational Viewpoint on the Sectarian Worker site.


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:: Tuesday, April 08, 2003 ::

dave dudley's dialectical diary

It seems that the demise of sectarian worker has finally happened. We here at perspective, the only true marxist blog in cyberspace, echo the great words of Ted Grant and say "let the dead bury the dead". Or if you don't fancy watching a horror movie, read Dave Dudley's dialectical diary instead.


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:: Monday, April 07, 2003 ::

The 2003 Scottish General Election

A full run down of the Scottish Parliamentary election runners and riders at the Scottish Politics site.


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Sunday Herald - Sheridan hailed as successor to Bevan

"Philip Hobsbaum, Professor Emeritus at Glasgow university, is to join the Scottish Socialist Party after annointing Tommy Sheridan the 'true successor' to Aneurin Bevan."


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:: Friday, April 04, 2003 ::

Kim Jong Il (the illmatic)'s LiveJournal


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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | Poet laureate writes Iraq lament

Regime Change

Advancing down the road from Niniveh
Death paused a while and said 'Now, listen here.
Your see the names of places roundabout?
They're mine now, and I've turned them inside-out.
Take Eden, further south: at dawn today
I ordered up my troops to tear away
its walls and gates so everyone can see
that gorgeous fruit which dangles from its tree.
You want it, don't you? Go and eat it then,
and lick your lips, and pick the same again.
Take Tigris and Euphrates; once they ran
through childhood-coloured slats of sand and sun.
Not anymore they don't; I've filled them up
with countless different kinds of human crap.
Take Babylon, the palace sprouting flowers,
which sweetened empires in their peaceful hours -
I've found a different way to scent the air:
already it's a byword for despair
Which leaves Baghdad - the star-tipped minarets,
the marble courts and halls, the mirage-heat.
These places, and the ancient things you know,
you won't know soon. I'm working on it now.'

Andrew Motion


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:: Thursday, April 03, 2003 ::

test


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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates

"Finally, there's the matter of Saddam's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. (Oops, nearly forgot about those!)

In the fog of war - one thing's for sure - if Saddam 's regime indeed has weapons of mass destruction, it is showing an astonishing degree of responsibility and restraint in the teeth of extreme provocation. Under similar circumstances, (say if Iraqi troops were bombing New York and laying siege to Washington DC) could we expect the same of the Bush regime? Would it keep its thousands of nuclear warheads in their wrapping paper? What about its chemical and biological weapons? Its stocks of anthrax, smallpox and nerve gas? Would it?

Excuse me while I laugh.

In the fog of war we're forced to speculate: Either Saddam is an extremely responsible tyrant. Or - he simply does not possess weapons of mass destruction. Either way, regardless of what happens next, Iraq comes out of the argument smelling sweeter than the US government."


Arundhati Roy
Wednesday April 2, 2003
The Guardian


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:: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 ::

Freedom Road: Military Matters War Bulletin #2

"Things are going very badly for troops on the long northbound column. Vehicles are deadlined from the sand. Soldiers are frightened, they are short of sleep, and they stink. The tempo that exhilarated them three days ago is now turning to deep muscular and psychological fatigue. Many are now wondering what they have gotten into. Thoughts of dying in a state of discomfort are popping up, thoughts of being maimed for life. Tempers are flaring. The food is all starting to taste the same. The mosquitoes and sand flies are thick at night. Supply disruptions have created a tobacco shortage. Home is unreachable. People are crying silently in the dark. A goodly number of these people haven't yet reached their 20th birthday." from Stan Goff.


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Cie Jolie Mome

another free anti-war mp3 from this wonderful French theatre group.


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Scottish Socialist Party - Maryhill Branch

The blogger virus is spreading faster than SARS. The Maryhill (that's in Glasgow folks) SSP branch is using blogger to post news items.


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:: Tuesday, April 01, 2003 ::

ToThePolls.com | Balanced news filter for the Scottish elections 2003

"The constituency vote suggests that if anyone has gained massively in the four years of the Parliament it is in fact the SSP from Labour (there being a 5% swing from Lab to the SSP)."

ToThePolls spots the blindingly obvious unlike the rest of the media.


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SEREN - socialist environmental republican news

New Welsh publication bringing together socialists, greens and supporters of Welsh independence. Worth checking out.


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Mansoor Hekmat Archive

Now available at the Marxist Internet Archive, a selection of works from Mansoor Hekmat, an Iranian socialist who wrote interesting stuff on religion and particularly political islam.


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